|Matthew Dublin is a senior writer at Genome Technology.|
Twisted Terabit Transfers
In a paper published this week in the journal Nature Photonics, an international team of researchers led by a group at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles describe a method for transferring data at 2.56 terabits per second.
That's 85,000 times faster than today's 30 megabyte-per-second broadband Internet — roughly the equivalent of transferring 70 full-length DVDs in about one second.
The method in question uses "twisted light" beams to carry data through a new data stream channel, like a radio with its very own radio station.
The team — comprised of investigators from China, Pakistan, and Israel — says that the benefit of their data transmission technology is that it eliminates the need for bandwidth altogether.
If you'd like to dive into the photonic nitty-gritty, click here to read their paper.
But before you get too excited, this technology is not going to be available any time soon. Apparently the Earth's atmosphere interferes with twisted light data transmission over long distances. So while this may not prove to be a viable replacement for the current Internet infrastructure, there could be a future for this technology in the data center in the form of interconnects or networking fabric —assuming there are processing cores fast enough to handle that rate of data transfer.
A group from the University of Pittsburgh demonstrated a different technique to transmit data earlier this year at rates that also left current bandwidth limitations in the dust. The team, led by Hrvoje Petek, created a "frequency comb" that created over 100 terahertz of bandwidth using a group of atomic motions in a semiconductor silicon crystal.